Team Texas has been in Zurich the past three weeks, hangin' with our better half. This time I thought it would be fun to shoot some video of our stay and toss it together will a little Willie Nelson number. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do our time in Switzerland.
Everybody tries to live a healthy life and be more active, but usually we find better things to do: go out with friends, work or just enjoy a glass of wine and a movie at home. Of course the guilty conscience is there, but it is easily suppressed. This is the problem Nike attempts to solve with the FuelBand.
The FuelBand is a small device in the form of a bracelet, which measures your body's movement and awards you Fuel points based on your activity level. You set your own daily goal. Guess what happens in the evening when you realize you're 500 fuel points off your target? You find yourself taking the stairs or going out for a walk. Welcome to your gamified life! It might sounds silly, but it really works and it's cool!
Because gamification works even better when competing in a team, every team member at Amazee Labs has a FuelBand. To make it even more fun, our daily stats are displayed on our team page! So everyone can see who was most active in the past week. Unfortunately Nike doesn't provide an API for the Fuel points yet, but this didn't stop us from finding a way to show the data on our website.
How we got it working
Because we believe in open source, you can download our solution from GitHub!
Nike has announced they will provide an API in the future but nothing's happened yet, so let's hope this initiative brings them to publish something in the near future.
Zurich's Kreis 5 has seen a few nice ventures evolve lately. Yesterday another one has surfaced, and its impressively charming. Located between the rails, Prime Tower and the Viaduct (just behing the Freitag tower) the interim garden unites all aspects of our home district and offers one of an inspiring place to enjoy a drink on a dry and sunny evening. Frau Gerolds Garten.
Yesterday I got punched in the face and knocked to ground, metaphorically speaking of course. In Round 9 of my daily Fotobout with Michael, his picture Zürich West by Night proved too much for me to handle. The score? Our visitors voted in favor of his photo 44-13, a T.K.O. by anyone's account. You might be asking yourself why I would subject myself and my photography to the agony of defeat on a daily basis and the answer is simple — for the love of making pictures.
Step into the ring
Fotobout.com is a daily competition where I square off with Michael to post the better photograph. And our judges are you, the people. By sharing or simply "FOTE-ing" for your favorite photo, you cast a vote for it to win the round. Every 24 hours a new round begins and the results of the previous are revealed.
- Each photo must be taken the same day it's posted.
- The identity of the photographer is kept hidden until after the round is over.
- Don't take anything too seriously or too personally, just have fun.
The idea for Fotobout came to us over dinner when Kathryn suggested that our never-ending accumulation of photo equipment didn't actually yield many pictures. Michael and I agreed we should strive to take more pictures and decided our goal would be one good photo a day. How good? Let the people decide!
You can imagine how eager a group of web developers were to start a pet project, an "Amazee Labs Team Extreme," we called it. A couple of days of design work on my part, some back-end heavy lifting by Michael, and a touch of front-end magic by Kathryn and Fotobout was online in about two weeks time.
Michael won the first round 24-17. He also took round two 12-3. It was obvious my competition was fierce but even more obvious was the fact that we were losing voters. The number of votes cast in rounds two and three were down nearly 65% from round one. Why?
Greg offered an answer, suggesting he wouldn't vote on a daily basis because he didn't want to spam his social media network with Fotobout updates. Danny concurred, adding that sharing every day was too much to ask of our visitors.
The solution to the problem was the FOTE button, a way for users to vote for their favorite entry without posting to social media. The results speak for themselves, a whopping 68 votes cast the day it was implemented.
Photography aside, Fotobout can teach us a few things about how new ideas make it on the web. Here's a few things I've learned from this project as well as some ideas I've subscribed to in the past.
- Start with a simple idea. Do one thing really well instead of several things just okay. These days people won't tolerate a bad experience and there's no second chance to make a first impression.
- Get it online and in front of your users, the sooner the better. Your audience will be able to tell you more in five minutes than you could assume in five weeks.
- Evolve the product over time. Each new feature is an opportunity to impress your audience all over again and re-engage them for the long term.
Fotobout was a simple idea that we got online quickly and efficiently. And now we're looking forward to the future. In the coming months, look for Fotobout to adhere to the growing responsive design trend and don't rule out the addition of new photographers. Who knows, maybe we're on our way to becoming a full-fledged community platform. We'll see where the road takes us. Until then, get out there and vote. Ding, ding, ding!
The Amazee Labs logo is something we're proud to show off. For example, we've printed it on business cards, silk screened it on T-shirts, and even engraved it on Legos. Let's add a few more to the list, shall we?
Lil Decal Shoppe helped us roll out these flawless decals, that really spruce up our Macbooks, among other things. And the best part is, no backing. It's like a transparent PNG we can hold in our hands!
A big shout out and thanks goes to Gary Sweeney, a local Texas artist that helped us cut this logo out of MDO board for mounting on our office wall. At a whopping five feet wide, this logo really makes an impact.
And finally, in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, we carved this pumpkin. Some painter's tape, a Sharpie, and an hour wielding an X-ACTO knife yielded this branded jack-o'-lantern. Happy Halloween!
Photo by Mitchypop
DrupalCon London Day 2, the most exciting day of DrupalCon London? Perhaps it was for me, at least up to that day. The conference of course was filled with interesting sessions and the evening with interesting entertainment. And by interesting entertainment I mean watching Batman fling around shooting hilarious PG-13 fireworks at an oversized Joker blimp, but I actually learned and got excited about new technologies that day.
One of these technologies is node.js. The session was mostly about what can be accomplished instead of actual demonstrations of awesome kick-ass code, but it was still very interesting and displayed nice potential for future applications. I honestly can’t wait to see how Drupal and node.js are gonna get together. At this early stage of development I’d suggest getting out and helping! Take part in the community and help build this awesome technology!
I won’t dive into the bits and bytes here (as the speakers do a much better job at explaining how it works and why we all should care), but I encourage everyone with an interest to watch the session over here.
The second part of the day began at 4pm for the DrupalCon attendees who were fortunate enough to have received a “golden ticket” (the ticket wasn't really gold). We were rounded up and put in several big red boxes with wheels that carried us on 2 floors throughout the city.
As we made our way through the beautiful scenery and artistic landscapes of Croydon we gasped upon our delightfully packed lunch bags that were oh-so-kindly handed to us upon boarding the red box. My bag unfortunately carried a rather unlikable tuna sandwich (yuck!), an apple, a bag of crisps and a healthy chocolate bar.
On our arrival at the O2 Arena we were greeted inside an oversized tent with an entire miniature city hidden inside of it. I’ve never been to the O2 Arena so this was a major “gasp” for me. Unfortunately, the team didn't have seats together, so we had to split into two groups, but luckily we all managed to sit together anyway, which can only be explained by paranormal activity. The show itself was pretty sweet - not many people seemed to like it, but I thought it was pretty cool. I mean, we saw smoke, explosions and the Batmobile! What more could I ask from an evening? It was often a bit slow-paced, but mind you this wasn't a movie (although the screen used as backdrop was very delicious).
All in all it was a pretty neat day, a good day at DrupalCon London 2011!
ps: I think Batman could lose some weight.